The Case Law Database – Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for more in depth answers on our case law database and legal research collaborative products? Read our Frequently Asked Questions and watch our videos or Download PDF for fast answers. Need more assistance? Contact us at 1-844-454-8396.
- What is the case law database?
- Who is Benchly?
- How is our case law platform different from traditional legal research solutions on the market today?
- How do you get started using Benchly’s Beyond Legal Research?
- How do you add other users to your account?
Using the Tools
- What are my search options on the platform?
- How do you create and share a matter and add a case to it?
- How do I add a comment to a matter, opinion or annotate specific text?
- What are notifications and how do they work?
- How does the “Search” highlighting feature work?
- How do you validate a published case?
- What are the features of the “Refine Search” bar?
- What is the “Bookmarks” section used for?
What is the case law database?
The case law database is our repository of case law opinion documents dating back to the earliest appellate court cases, both federal and state, through current cases from today. Our database is updated daily to ensure you can find the cases you are looking for.
The power of our database lies in the revolutionary platform that sits on top of the data. Our Benchly Beyond Legal Research platform applies the industry’s most advanced concept search engine and machine learning technology to legal research in a way that’s never been done before. It is designed to help you find cases faster, without having to be a search guru, for a fraction of the cost of legacy providers. Each membership includes access to all 50 states and Federal law with unlimited downloading and printing.
Who is Benchly?
The Beyond Legal Research platform was developed by Benchly, a legal technology team focused on providing innovative solutions to accelerate your legal strategy. Visit the Benchly website to access their other useful and cutting-edge technologies.
How is our case law platform different from traditional legal research solutions on the market today?
First, our solutions were developed with the understanding that legal research tools shouldn’t be cost prohibitive or complicated to use.
Second, our revolutionary platform applies the industry’s most advanced concept search engine and machine learning technology to legal research in a way that’s never been done before. It is designed to help you find cases faster, without having to be a search guru, for a fraction of the cost of legacy providers. Each membership includes access to all 50 states and Federal law with unlimited downloading and printing.
Lastly, we have built in enhanced easy to use collaboration tools that give researchers the ability to organize their legal research by matters, share those matters with an individual or an entire team and manage the effort and work product of the research initiative.
How do you get started using Benchly’s Beyond Legal Research?
Simply click the “Login” button if already registered or click on “Sign Up” and fill out the form. It is that easy. When completed, you will receive an email to activate your account. Ideally, have one person sign up for the free trial for your firm and add other individuals from your team to that license. This secures your firms work product and enables collaboration across members of your whole firm. You can quickly add additional users to that license by going to your “Account Settings” link in the header bar. Click “Add New Member” and enter their email address and select the Sub-Administrator box so they will have the ability to create matters and add new members. The person you invited will receive an email where they can create their own user name and password.
What is included in the Free Trial?
- Individual accounts for each user on your team
- Unlimited data storage for your research
- Centralized billing for all the team members
- Administrative controls and customer support
- Controlled privacy settings
How do you add other users to your account?
It’s as easy as a click of the button. Click on the Account Settings link at the top of the page. From there, click on the “Add Member” button on the right-hand side. Enter the added member’s email address and select whether you want them to be a sub administrator or not and then click “send invitation”. They will get an email that they will have to click on to validate, and at that point they are active.
What are my search options on the platform?
We offer three ways to search. We offer the two traditional methods of searching, Boolean and Fielded, like everyone else. With Boolean, you can combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT, OR and “” to produce more specific results. Fielded search allows you to find specific documents if you know what you are looking for, i.e. by citation, docket or party name. The third search we offer, which differentiates us from the competition, is Concept Search.
Our case law research platform utilizes a powerful next-generation machine learning engine that revolutionizes the way legal professionals conduct legal research. Our Concept Search focuses on conceptual relevancy and converts your search terms, sentences, and phrases into concepts. The engine functions by finding term correlations across a document set and automatically determines the core concepts and returns your search with a list of relevant terms that you can interact with to find exactly what you are looking for. You can continue to filter down your relevant cases by doing further Boolean searches or by using our interactive sliding bars to include or remove terms from your search. You won’t believe how easy it is to find just what you are looking for, quickly. Once you have performed your Concept Search, click on the “Show Query” button next to Terms to see what Boolean search you would have had to perform to come up with the same results.
How do you create and share a matter and add a case to it?
To create a matter, click the “My Matters” tab on the left side bar. Click the “New Matter” button and enter the name and save it. It will now appear in your matter list.
In the “My Matters” area, you can share a matter by clicking the “Person” icon next to your matter and selecting the member from the drop-down list. You can also select/open a matter and use the “Manage Access” link located on the upper right side of the page. The member will receive a notification that they were added to the matter.
While viewing a case, you can add it to a matter by selecting the “Add To Existing” or “Add To New” in the “Matter” bucket on the top right side of window.
How do I add a comment to a matter, opinion or annotate specific text?
You can add comments about a specific matter for your team by opening the matter in the “My Matters” tab on the left side bar and entering your comment in the appropriate box. When you “Post” a comment, the team members of the matter will receive a notification.
When viewing a case that is part of a matter, you can add comments in the box below the case viewer. When you “Post” a comment about the case, the team members of the matter will receive a notification.
Once you have added a case to a matter, you can add annotations (Drop a Pin/Note) on case text by selecting the desired text with your mouse. Click the “Pin” icon that appears and enter your comment. You can make the “Pin” private (only you see it) or public (all members of the matter can see it). When you hover your mouse over the saved highlighted text, the note appears. In order to Annotate text, the opinion document must be saved to a matter first. All annotations are numbered and shown in the “Annotations” section located on the lower right side of the screen and are hot linked.
What are notifications and how do they work?
This unique feature is designed to eliminate the need for emailing team members about research project status or updates. Members of the matter can communicate directly from within our platform. Members of a “Matter” receive a notification each time a comment is posted about a matter or a case. They also receive a notification each time a matter is shared with them or a case is added to a matter they belong to.
How does the search highlighting feature work?
Concept Search converts your search terms/sentences/phrases into concepts.
The engine automatically determines the core concepts and transparently
returns each with relevant terms highlighted in the individual cases. This brings back more relevant documents that the searcher may not have known about.
Boolean searches highlight only the terms in the case from the query.
How do you validate a published case?
“Published Cases”: Our “Cited BY” section in the case view will show you how many times the case has been cited and a list of those citing cases. In order to refine and sort this list, simply execute a new “Boolean” search in quotes for the “Citation” number (I.e. “628 F.3d 948”). The search bar is located at the top of the page. In the search results window, you can use the “Refine Search” panel to the right to add or delete jurisdictions, add an additional Boolean search to limit the results to specific issues, and sort by ascending or descending dates. At this point, you will need to read the resulting cases and then discern for yourself how the subsequent cases treated your case.
“Unpublished Cases”: Coming Soon
What are the features of the “Refine Search” bar?
The “Save a Search” button allows you to save the current search including the terms added from the term bar.
The “Sort” search feature allows results to be displayed by title, date, or score
- Title puts the cases in alphabetical order, either descending or ascending
- Date can be sorted in descending or ascending order. Note: You can enter a custom date range by clicking the “Custom Date Range” button at the top of the case results list.
- The score is derived by the software as it analyzes a collection of documents, identifying terms and phrases and weighting those using standard Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques. The compressed patterns (term concept vectors) are then used to measure the similarity of any block of free text to all the words found in the collection of documents, showing the most similar words and phrases to the user as part of a keyword query.
The Boolean search feature can be used to further refine your query to other known issues not in the term list.
The “Courts” section allows you to filter by the specific courts in your search results.
The “Jurisdictions” section allows the ability to select specific federal or state jurisdictions.
- When you perform a concept search, your search result returns a list of terms from the search that can be adjusted to search with. You can click the green “AND” which indicates that term must be present or the red “NOT” which indicates the term is not present. While the top one hundred terms (words and phrases) are returned, only the most relevant are automatically used in the query. You can bring in additional “Suggested Terms” from lower on the list by clicking the plus sign and then clicking the “AND” operator.
What is the “Bookmarks” section used for?
The “Bookmarks section is basically an issue tag feature. You can create as many issue tags as you wish and apply those to individual cases. Once a tag has been added, it shows up in the “Tags” section located on the lower right side of the case viewer.
- Law Firms
- Law Schools